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Buy Yourself A Ticket to Fish ‘O’ Mania

How confident are you at qualifying for a big-money final such as the Maver Match This or Fish ‘O’ Mania? To me, qualifying for these matches has always seemed like a distant, almost impossible task.

I’ve always felt that to qualify you need to base your summer around trying. Personally, I enjoy fishing the canals, rivers and other festivals, and simply don’t have the time (and the money!) to do so.

This year, I decided that I wasn’t going to prepare for such matches, but if I had time or a free day and there was a ticket available, I’d go. I did exactly that when I bought a ticket for the Match This qualifier at Lake View Fishery.

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Not having any idea about the lakes, I drew on River (I think it was Peg 11) and arriving there it looked lovely – a corner swim, with the point of an island and a nice long margin.

Sean Huggins, a venue regular, had told me it was a poor area, but as I was setting up there were fish moving and it looked really nice! There were carp and F1s to catch, and with a low weight estimated to win, I fished with maggots and groundbait in a medium Preston Cad Pot.

The action wasn’t steady and fast by any stretch of the imagination, but I was catching the odd fish. Word came around that the fishing was very difficult, and looking around the two lakes that I could see, I was doing very well. I must admit, it was nice to feel in contention without fishing at 100mph and bagging up! Three bigger carp, and the best run of F1s I’d had all day came to the net in the final hour.

After weighing in 78lb, the scalesman said: “I tell you what, there won’t be many with that today, well done!” Deep down I never even considered that to be a winning weight, but as more and more results came in, I couldn’t find an angler with any more. After one of the most chilled-out, spontaneous matches I’d chosen to fish, with zero prep, I found myself in this year’s Match This Final!

However, if I hadn’t made that decision to grab a ticket and go, it would have been impossible. From now on, I’ll definitely treat these matches as ‘drop on and chance it’ events. If you get that right peg on the right day, you’re there!

Blankety Blank!

One match that I will be forgetting ASAP this month is the Feeder Masters qualifier I fished on the River Trent. It was up, coloured and raging, and I was really excited about catching some bream and barbel.

I loved every minute of the day, and was convinced I was going to nail a lump or two… right up until there were just 30 seconds of the match to go, when I still had nothing in the net. Yep… that’s how it ended! Us young ’uns have never been any good at this river fishing lark!

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